Islamic State appears to be present in close to all Afghan provinces, says U.N. envoy

A U.N. special rep. warned of coming economic collapse in Afghanistan that will help fuel terrorism
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Mountains in Afghanistan
Mountains in Afghanistan
(Spc. Jeffery Harris / U.S. Army Reserve)

An Islamic State affiliate group has grown and now appears to be present in close to all 34 provinces in Afghanistan since the Taliban this summer started running the country, says the United Nations' special representative to Afghanistan.

U.N. Special Representative Deborah Lyons, of Canada, made the assessment Wednesday before the U.N. Security Council and also said the Taliban's response to Islamic State-Khorasan Province's (ISIS-K) expansion appears to be heavily reliant upon killing suspected ISIS fighters.

The Taliban fighters, however, say they have been unable to stem the growth of ISIS-K.

Lyons cautioned that the international community should not turn a blind eye to the issue. 

"Once limited to a few provinces and the capital, ISKP now seems to be present in nearly all provinces, and increasingly active," she said. 

The group recently claimed responsibility for two explosions that killed at least one person and injured half a dozen others in a Shiite Muslim neighborhood in Kabul. The group has executed at least 334 attacks this year, compared to 60 in 2020. 

Lyons also warned that Afghanistan is likely on the precipice of economic collapse as winter nears and a drought impacts the region.